“ For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart”-Jeremiah 29:11-13
After the day’s toil has passed, the supper dishes have been put away, and the dirt washed from our bodies, we often found ourselves poised on the precipice of our world, watching the final touches of God’s hand paint the western sky with a beauty so bold, no mortal brushstroke will ever compare, from comfort of our humble front porch.
Upon the boards that I nailed into place with my own hands, we looked out upon years of sacrifice and labor. From nothingness, we had created a home. From the wilderness, we had built a homestead. Often armed with nothing more than a shovel and hammer, we built what we thought would be our dream home. Beyond the gurgling waterfall of the Koi pond, lay the greenery in summer of the front yard that ran over across the drive into the fenced pasture. There, grazing lazily in the setting rays of the sun, our beef cattle would stand as if posing for the Master’s hand. Just knowing they were there to call upon should we have a time of need or food was a comfort. I can still hear my Uncle John exclaim the day we sat on the swing looking out upon the vista, “Timmy, your cows are looking mighty fat and slick,” which was one of ultimate praise in cattlemen’s terms. My Uncle John and I shared the love of being in the country as did many other guests who came to see us.
There were many more visits from family that often culminated at the end of long days there on that front porch. Many times we would talk long past sunset, gently swaying back in forth in the rockers or swing. There we would reminisce and share stories of long ago. Memories would flood our minds, and those of other such places would surface. My grandma Tron’s favorite sharing place was also in her swing. There on the edge of the quaint little town of New Harmony, with a pace so slow you could barely feel the motion, we would sit and solve life’s mysteries or struggles. There sitting across from grandpa, who had more often than not, fallen off to sleep, we’d learn about stories in the Bible and lessons learned in life. There from her swing we could look out past the great sycamore trees into the pasture next door where dairy cows would graze. It was where I learned that the pace of life doesn’t have to drive you crazy if only you would allow yourself the time to slow down and experience God’s blessings that were all around you.
Of course, we weren’t the only ones that had enjoyed the view from our front porch. There were the odd visitor or intruder. From the geese that had chased the children up from the pond to the kittens that would pounce and roll, to the ponies that decided grass wasn’t as much fun to romp and play on as the wood of the front porch. Just imagine the clatter of hooves resonating from within the house compared to that of little children scampering in play. It was any wonder I could sleep on those days while working the night shift, yet I sometimes found a way.
As the years went by, we added more landscaping and walkways which only increased the feeling of being more of an estate than a farm. Yet, in the coolness of the evenings, that space became our sanctuary in the wilderness where we could reflect on all that we had done and what was to come. Beyond the dark western tree line was the unknown; the future. On that porch, I had watched my children grow. Many late evenings or early mornings I would find comfort in the swing, as I would wrap their tiny bodies in blankets and rock them gently while singing hymns, often falling asleep myself as we became one with the world around us. I would awaken with a start to the motionless swing and realize we were at peace. Those are moments I will always cherish.
There on the outdoor abode my children played and viewed the world around them from the safety of that gentle loft, high above the terrestrial surface below. There they would be emboldened to go out and explore finding all sorts of bugs, toads, and critters that they would unearth in their daily forays into the unknown and bring back to their home base, the porch. As time progressed, we watched them grow into the young adults; the once daunting height of that porch had become little more than a mere step to them. In my mind, I had figured that eventually I would even be watching my own life’s sunset from that place, but it was not meant to be. God had another plan.
What I had created within the boundaries of my own mind was nothing in that of the Master’s plan, it was only a stepping stone. Two days ago, at 3:59 pm, the place that I had built to last our lifetime became someone else’s dream home. Two days ago, the step we had taken to answer the calling from God became a reality.
Today, I awoke to the feeling of being somewhere between the Red Sea and the River Jordan. We have left all we have known and worked for in our previous life behind. We have died to our former selves in order to answer the call. Now, we wait to see where He has us to go. Where will our promised land be? Where is our river to cross?
These and many more questions face us each day, but each day, I open the pages to the only place I know where the answer can be found; my Bible.
Seek and ye shall find, knock, and the door will be opened.
All we have to do is leave our porch and answer Him.
Thanks be to God.